By Akanimo Sampson
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is bracing to plug into the coming elections in Abia and Ebonyi states in a seeming dramatic u-turn from their hard line position on election boycott in Eastern Nigeria. Their sole aim is to oust those they described as ‘’enemies of Igboland’’ in the two states.
IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, has declared that the decision of his group to boycott the 2019 elections will have Abia and Ebonyi states’ governorship elections as exceptions.
Before now, IPOB had listed 11 states where the upcoming general elections will not hold. They restated their resolve to boycott the 2019 polls with members marching along some major streets and roads in the Eastern and Southern Nigeria.
IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, who made this known in a statement said their march was to announce their happiness over the reappearance of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu recently reappeared in Jerusalem after more than a year the security agencies invaded his Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia country home. There were feelings that he was even killed by the security agencies.
‘’Biafrans are equally today showcasing to the world that we are ready to boycott every Nigerian elections come 2019 especially presidential election next year. IPOB rally and march today November 23, 2018 is ongoing in all the states across Biafraland like Rivers, Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Imo, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and other Biafra clans and tribes fraudulently caved into Kogi, Benue and Edo states’’, he had said.
But, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, Lucius Ugorji, had expressed concern over the call by IPOB on the East to boycott the 2019 general elections. He expressed his concern in a sermon on the occasion of the Corpus Christi (the celebration of Christ the King) at the Mater Dei Cathedral, Umuahia.
‘’It is your right and civic responsibility to vote during elections. Elections offer the citizenry the opportunity to elect good leaders who will provide good governance. If you fail to vote, you have failed to exercise your civic responsibility as responsible citizens, thus paving the way for the emergence of bad and insensitive leaders.
‘’Presently, we are still Nigerians. We do not have another country we can call our own. So it is our right and civic responsibility to vote and chose those that will govern us at the federal, state and local government levels’’, the bishop said, pointing out that the period of the electioneering provided an opportunity for the present administrations at all levels to give account of their stewardship based on their campaign promises to the electorate.
Kanu however, said that the reason behind the decision to participate in Abia and Ebonyi governorship elections was to remove Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and his Ebonyi counterpart, Dave Umahi whom he described as ‘’enemies’’ of Igboland.
The IPOB leader, in his latest broadcast from Israel, said the accusation of kidnapping levelled by Umahi against IPOB is a sign of trying to justify the invitation he placed on the Nigerian Army to begin another phase of Operation Python Dance in the southeast.
‘’Because we said we are not going to vote doesn’t mean we can’t mobilise to have you voted out. That’s what will happen in Abia and Ebonyi. Perhaps if we keep quiet all the time, they’ll think, since they’re not going to vote does it really matter?
‘’But we have a very special programme for Abia and Ebonyi. They’ll find it difficult. The day people will realise the damage people like Umahi are doing to our people, then will understand why we must get ride of them in the corridors of power.
‘’Fulani Herdsmen are rampaging in our land, but Umahi and his Igbo governors are busy planning on how to kill IPOB members. Okezie Ikpeazu has the temerity to say that I don’t keep to agreement, but he forgot that I’ve never met him in my life talk less of having agreement with him. He lives about a thousand metres from my house, but I don’t know who he is.
‘’Accusing someone or a group of plotting high profile kidnapping on a large scale as alleged by Umahi against IPOB is a very serious business as it is not only capable of igniting violence from Nigerian Security Agencies, but have also given them license to kill Biafrans’’, Kanu said.